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Justice Scalia & Mr. Micawber

In response to:

A Supreme Difference from the June 10, 2010 issue

To the Editors:

In his elegant review of Joan Biskupic’s biography of Justice Scalia [NYR, June 10], Anthony Lewis cites, with admiration for the judge’s erudition, his remark that Billy Budd, Pollyanna, and Mr. Micawber could never have been lawyers.

Well, perhaps. But Mr. Micawber’s perennial belief that something would turn up has entered the vocabulary of English law as a metaphor for speculative applications for disclosure of documents; and I doubt whether “Micawber applications” are entirely foreign to American legal process. As for the feckless Mr. Micawber himself, something did turn up: he ended his days as a magistrate in Australia.

Stephen Sedley
Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, UK

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